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December 3, 2012

Ketch's 10 thoughts from the weekend




"We've started and finished the season ranked among the nation's top 10 in five of the last six years, each of the last three. We've started the year ranked in the top 10 in each of the last 10 years. We're the only team in the nation that's been ranked among the top 15 in the final poll in each of the last 10 years. We've been ranked among the top 10 for 47 straight weeks, the nation's longest active streak. We've been ranked among the top five for 29 straight weeks, the nation's longest streak. Our current streak in the poll is 158 straight weeks in the top 25, it's the longest active also, sixth longest in the history of the poll. We have told the guys that all that means is that you've got your program to a point now where people rank you in the top five, top 10 in the preseason. The only thing in the preseason that matters is that you're close enough to get in the mix to win the National Championship at the end. I think Alabama was fifth in the preseason last year. What you really want to do is finish in the proper place in the polls. That's the most important thing."

Mack Brown on August 23rd, 2010


The truth of the matter is that Mack Brown doesn't need us to tell him that the 2012 is not up to his standards. He doesn't need your angry posts on message boards or calls into talk-radio. Nope, all the man needs to do is read his own words because right before the floor started to collapse around him back in 2010, Mack set the bar for his program, whether he knew it or not.

In the aftermath of a loss to Kansas State, which left the Longhorns 8-4 for the year and on a two-game losing-streak to conclude the regular season, it's important to make sure that the standard for which seasons are judged around these parts only change if you allow Mack Brown to change them.

When Mack Brown spoke last Monday about his team making great progress this season, he surely wasn't using the same standards that used to rule his kingdom. In fact, here's the truth about his team when comparing it to the 2011 season, whether he wants to hear it or ignore it … he has a team that is marginally better on offense and significantly worse on both defense and in important areas of the special teams.

Hell, you can make a case that the team is no closer to solving its quarterback issues than it was at the same time last season, and the debate includes the same two players.

If the 2011 team played the 2012 team on a neutral field, I guess I'd pick the 2012 team. I guess. Frankly, it doesn't sound like a game I'd want to watch. My personal standards for the Longhorn have always been pretty simple to measure, as any season that doesn't end with a conference title and a BCS bid is a failure. Period.

However, it seems like a standard that probably isn't very fair to Mack because winning conference titles has been so incredibly difficult to acquire in his tenure.

Therefore, let's use Mack's own standards based on his own words.

"We've started and finished the season ranked among the nation's top 10 in five of the last six years, each of the last three."

The program hasn't come close in the last three seasons to this standard.

"We've started the year ranked in the top 10 in each of the last 10 years."

That hasn't happened the last two seasons and likely won't be the case in 2013.

"We're the only team in the nation that's been ranked among the top 15 in the final poll in each of the last 10 years."

The program hasn't come close in the last three seasons to this standard.

"We've been ranked among the top 10 for 47 straight weeks, the nation's longest active streak. We've been ranked among the top five for 29 straight weeks, the nation's longest streak. Our current streak in the poll is 158 straight weeks in the top 25, it's the longest active also, sixth longest in the history of the poll."

Yeah, all of those streaks have been dead for a while and this season just concluded with the program ranked 25th in one poll and unranked in another.

"What you really want to do is finish in the proper place in the polls. That's the most important thing."

So Mack, did the program really take "great" strides this season or have you forgotten what it was that you actually built?

The point of all of this isn't to say that Mack Brown should be fired or that he should decide to step away, it's to make sure that it's perfectly clear that this season did not provide anything close to acceptable results based not on my standards or your standards, but his standards.

The last three seasons haven't been good enough. This season isn't good enough. Mack's job performance hasn't been good enough.

Those words aren't made from my own determinations based on my own opinions. Again, Mack's words … Not. His. Standard.

No.2 - Scattershooting on the Longhorns…

… I have to imagine that Mack Brown was mighty disappointed on Sunday to have his team fall down to the Alamo Bowl. Whether the record warranted a prime match-up in Dallas with an SEC power or not, Mack would have been able to sell his team on it playing its way into a good bowl match-up, but now he has some work to do because I can't imagine anyone wakes up tomorrow excited about playing Oregon State in San Antonio.

… Former Pflugerville running back Storm Woods is a big piece of the puzzle for the Beavers at tailback.

… What in the world are we supposed to make out of the quarterback situation with bowl practices approaching? It feels like Mack Brown has pushed himself into a corner on this subject, as Case McCoy didn't play anywhere well enough to beat Kansas State, but he played well enough to likely warrant keeping the starting job going into the bowl game. Basically, the coaches are in the same place they were this time last year when they decided to bank the future on David Ash and they prepared all season for him to be the guy. Now what?

… How can Mack seriously talk about his 2013 team as a championship contender when this quarterback issue won't go away?

… When Jordan Hicks is healthy next season, I'm curious to see the linebacker line-up because the players my eyes want to see on the field in order for 2013 are: 1A) Peter Jinkens 1B) Tevin Jackson 3) Steve Edmond.

… Facts: Conference titles won by the Longhorns from 1977-1997 (six), Conference titles won by the Longhorns from 1998-2012 (two).

No. 3 - Quick impressions from this weekend's action in the Big 12 …

Baylor: Say what you want about Art Briles and Co., but the Bears are playing pretty damn good football down the stretch, winning four of their final five that includes a win over Kansas State and an eight-point loss to Oklahoma in Norman. They slapped around Oklahoma State pretty good on Saturday.

Kansas: Charlie Weiss and his coaches still have a very long way to go…. A l-o-n-g way to go.

Oklahoma: Ho um, Bob Stoops found a way to claim another Big 12 Championship. He goes after conference titles like Mack chases 10-win seasons, except he still reaches his goal. Oklahoma got some very beneficial calls from the zebras, but a win is a win is a win.

Oklahoma State: Baylor basically stole all of the momentum that the Cowboys picked up late in the season over the course of 60 minutes in Waco. The Cowboys left their minds and souls in Norman.

TCU: Gary Patterson's team was ooooooh-soooooo-close to possibly picking up another signature win, but there were just too many critical mistakes made against the Sooners. This team will be a handful in 2013.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers had senior day for Geno Smith and Tavon Smith, and nobody even noticed.

Post-Week 12 Big 12 Power Poll

Note: Last week's rankings are listed in parentheses

1. Kansas State (1)
2. Oklahoma (2)
3. TCU (4)
4. Baylor (6)
5. Texas (5)
6. Oklahoma State (3)
7. Texas Tech (7)
8. West Virginia (8)
9. Iowa State (9)
10. Kansas (10)

No. 4 - College football thoughts: From A-to-Z …

A: Awesomeness: Say what you want about the SEC as a whole, but that championship game on Saturday was about as good as college football gets. You had great players making great plays, great coaches being both great and awful at the same time and drama that was as thick as SEC pride. By the time the game was over, I felt like I needed a cigarette. That was almost as good as college football gets.

B: Beast-mode: This. Was. Sick. Say whatever you want about street agents and his mom, but that was a man's run right there and his numbers this season (115 carries for 875 yards and six touchdowns) suggest he's ready to emerge as a superstar, unless Art Briles decides that he can only run a jet sweep starting next year.

C: Championship heads up: This play actually decided the Conference USA Championship. That'll leave a mark.

D: Dumb is dumb: The next time you wonder whether a college football coach is above being questioned by mere fans, just remember the absolute crimes against humanity that Nick Saban and Mark Richt committed in the game against clock management. It's amazing when you think about it that the difference in winning and losing for both of them came down to using more brainpower with the ticking contraption. Had Richt had his quarterback spike the ball in the final seconds of the game, rather than the approach that was taken (and the results that occurred because of it), we might be talking about how Bama missed out on a national title game because its Hall of Fame coach didn't know how to use his timeouts at the end of the first half.

E: Eating Crow: I kept thinking Oklahoma was going to lose a third game down the stretch, but it just never happened, even if there were multiple close calls.

F: Freshman of the Week: Alabama's Amari Cooper was one of the five or six best players on the field on Saturday in Atlanta and he's just a baby. Ironically enough, he was rated as the nation's No. 6 wide receiver prospect in the 2012 recruiting class … one spot behind UT freshman Cayleb Jones.

G: Good game, good effort: Give Taylor Martinez credit because he didn't go down without a fight like the rest of his Nebraska teammates on Saturday night. Before being sucked into the Nebraska 2012 Vortex, he pulled off one of the greatest plays you'll ever see. Too bad his team lost 70-31.

H: Heisman Tracker After Week 3 1. Marqise Lee (WR/USC) 2. Tavon Austin (WR/West Virginia) 3. Jadeveon Clowney (DE/South Carolina)

I: If I had a vote that mattered… (last week in parenthesis)

1. Notre Dame (1)
2. Alabama (2)
3. Florida (4)
4. Oregon (5)
5. Kansas State (7)
6. Georgia (3)
7. LSU (6)
8. Texas A&M (8)
9. Oklahoma (9)
10. Stanford (10)

J: Johnny Football: Not only is Johnny Manziel going to win the Heisman, but he's going to run away with the award. Get ready for every kid on your neighborhood to be wearing his jersey this off-season.

K: King Kong in cleats: In the biggest game of the season in college football, the one player that Georgia just didn't have an answer for was Alabama junior running back Eddie Lacy, who rushed for 181 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Somehow it doesn't seem fitting to use the word "rushing" to describe what he did … maybe bulldozing … maybe battered his way … maybe punked anything he saw in red?

L: Lesson from the weekend: So, if I'm ever in the Dr. Pepper Football Throw Contest for 100K, I need to pretend I'm John Stockton instead of John Elway? Got it.

M: McKayla Maroney Award for Not Being Impressed: Ladies and gentlemen, Nick Saban

N: Nick being Nick:If you want to know what kind of maniacal approach to the craft that it takes to be the best coach in college football, check out this Dan Wetzel column from Saturday night in the aftermath of Alabama's win over Georgia .

Here's a short passage:

Saban did a little of that, too ? a lot for him ? but mostly he stood there and rocked back and forth all by himself, impatient even in one of life's fleeting forever moments.

Then a thought crossed his mind, so he reached into his right pocket and pulled out a pen and what he calls his "field notes," simple game reminders that even an iron-focused coach might need to anchor him in the swirl of the battle.

Right there next to "long yard coverage" and "4-man rush," he wrote "(banquet)."

Then he folded up the paper, put it back in his pocket and stood waiting for CBS to throw the broadcast back to reporter Tracy Wolfson so they could begin the process of getting out of here.

"Well, you know, I'm always thinking what I'm going to say to the team, what the team has to do next," Saban said later in a quiet moment in one corner of a near deserted Alabama locker room. "And I usually write all that stuff down. And I had written that we had a 3 p.m. team meeting tomorrow, but I hadn't written down that we have a team banquet tomorrow night.

"So I was thinking about, what are we doing next here?"

Saban took a moment, shook his head slightly, sheepishly laughing at himself.

"I mean, you just won a championship, they haven't even given us the trophy yet and I'm already thinking about what's next, what do we have to do next?" he said.


O: Optimus Klein: After 12 games, I feel very comfortable in saying that Collin Klein isn't the best player in college football and doesn't deserve the Heisman. He's a hell of a college football player, though.

P: Player of the week: The best performance few paid any attention to occurred in Piscataway on Thursday night, as Teddy Bridgewater put Louisville on his back and carries them into the BCS with a broken wrist and a bad ankle. I'm not sure he should have been playing in the game, but that was a Heisman moment if there ever was one. It was just incredible to watch.

Q: Quote of the weekend: Coach Richt goes Mike Gundy in the post-game .

R: Rock solid: Perhaps the best compliment I can give the Alabama football team is that it has the strongest chin in college football. Down against LSU and on the brink? No problem. Down 11 points in the third quarter with the national title on the line? No problem. Even in its loss against Texas A&M, the Tide fought and fought and fought. That mental toughness is the No. 1 thing that Nick Saban instills in his players and as soon as Georgia blocked that field goal to take a two-score lead, you could just sense that Bama had finally had enough … it was time to take control of the game.

S: Snap judgment Florida still has a better resume to play in the national title game than Alabama.

T: Tweet of the Weekend:Dear Mark Richt, "I'm proud of your clock management coaching at the end of that game." Signed, Jason Garrett - @rolandsmartin

U: U.G.L.Y. You ain't got no alibi, you ugly, hey! Nebraska… SMH. LOL. SMH.

V: Voter collusion: So, I wonder how much instruction took place on Sunday between the MAC/Big 12 league offices and the coaches within their conferences that had Top 25 votes, consider millions were on the line?

W: The "What-if" Game: Johnny Manziel to Orangebloods on 12/31/09: "Probably my top 5 schools right now are Texas, TCU, Oregon, Oklahoma St., and then Nebraska."

X: X-Factor: The Alabama offensive line. Don't F with it.

Y: You heard it here first … Notre Dame is going to give Alabama a hell of a game (take the points now!), but Bama will choke them out in the fourth quarter like it does to just about everyone. Alabama 20 Notre Dame 13

Z: Zoolander look of the Day: So, the SEC honored John David Crow as an "SEC Legend" this weekend in Atlanta. Apparently, there was a dinner to honor him and everything. I can't be the only person that thinks this is literally one of the dumbest things I've seen in a sport that sometimes goes out of its way to provide them. I can't wait until Ladainian Tomlinson is named as a Big 12 legend…

No .5 - The NFL was wrong

The NFL wants you to know that it asked Romeo Crennel and a few other important members of the Kansas City Chiefs if it was ok before it went ahead and played an absolutely meaningless game on Sunday afternoon.

The NFL wants you to know that it gave serious consideration to the sensitivity of the events that transpired at the Kansas City Chiefs complex on Saturday morning.

The NFL wants you to know that travel considerations and other issues made it apparently impossible to delay a game … even by 24 hours.

Well, here's what I want the NFL to know … shame on them.

A co-worker murdered his child's mother and then brought his weapon to the work-place where he was confronted by several co-worker, before choosing to end his own life in full view of those co-workers. We're taking about one of the most horrific scene of events that one could possibly witness and deal with on a personal level.

Just stop for a moment and consider how you would feel if this happened to you. Imagine how you would react to hearing that someone you were with earlier in the day had been involved in such a situation.

And the NFL's response? They asked if the Chiefs could still play a game in 24 hours.

It would be the same as your boss walking into the office and saying, "Hope you feel better, about those TPS reports…"

Roger Goodell needed to step up and delay the game by 24 hours on his own accord because anything else simply reeks of insensitivity. The question should have never been asked to Crennel or anyone else within the organization.

The show must go on, right?

Shame on you, NFL.

No. 6 - The Cowboys swept the Eagles this season …

I have nine words for you: Dez Bryant is the best player on the Cowboys.

May the football gods have mercy on our souls.

No. 7 - The Texans kind of bored me on Sunday …

I tried to dig into their game on Sunday against the Titans, but as soon as it was 21-3 in the second quarter, I just didn't care any longer.

Ho hum, the Texans are really good and they manhandled the Titans. However, on a day when Arian Foster was the second-best back on the team and Andre Johnson was mortal, things were just kind of boring.

The good news is that when you are 11-1, boring is beautiful because it means the 11-1 team took care of its business.

This wasn't one of those games you'll pop on the DVR any time soon for a happy re-watch to kill a few hours, but it accomplished the mission.

Next up: Must-see TV against the Patriots. I believe it's what a lot of folks refer to as a statement game.

No. 8 = It's the sport of kings, better than diamond rings, That's why we're here to sing, football Sunday in the snow, referee's whistle blows, We've been warriors toe-to-toe…

… I'm running out of things to say about Adrian Peterson. It doesn't get much better than watching that dude do his thing.

… The game-winning touchdown drive led by Andrew Luck against the Lions was awe-inspiring, As soon as the Colts got the ball back with a little more than a minute remaining, you just knew. Matt Stafford definitely knew.

… Calvin Johnson has officially destroyed the idea of the Madden Curse. In his last four games, Johnson has caught 38 passes for 661 yards and four touchdowns. Again, that's in four games.

… Sidney Rice sold out to make that game-winning touchdown. Seriously, that hit might have taken a year of his life, but it was one hell of a play. His teammates will love him forever for taking that one for the team.

… Christian Ponder is awful. That is all.

… Are we sure Colin Kaepernick is the guy the 2012 49ers need on the field down the stretch? I'm not sure at all.

… The Cardinals and the Jets set football back 80 years on Sunday.

… That was an impressive win by the Broncos. Man, that team is getting better every week.

… Charlie Batch saved Pittsburgh's season. It's never dull with the Steelers.

No. 9 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop.…

… Hottie of the Week: Oh Eva, you're making us sweat .

… Hottie of the Week: Erin Andrews looking gooooood .

… Public says, "No thanks." Brad Pitt's new movie is no Twilight .

… Sign that the apocalypse is upon us : Hugh Hefner marrying Crystal Harris (Take 2) .

… Catfight! : LeAnn Rimes is so awesome in a LeAnn Rimes kind of way.

… Least shocking story of the weekend: LINDSAY LOHAN: I DO NOT Need Rehab! .

… What did the five fingers say to the face?: Katt Williams lets loose at a Target .

… 100-words or less album review: good kid, m.A.A.d city (B)

As someone who is somewhat disenfranchised with modern rap, I've got to give Kendrick Lamar props for making an album that has a really good vibe and remains interesting from track one until the end. As a lyricist, Lamar's standout ability is crystal clear and there are times when he does some pretty incredible stuff, especially in the first half of the cd. Overall, my first impression of the 25-year old artist's new album? It's a pretty damn solid CD.

No. 10 - The List: CCR

You asked for it, you got it.

The last five out: Run Through The Jungle, Down on the Corner, Up Around the Bend, Who'll Stop the Run and Green River

Ok, here we go…

10. I Heard It Through The Grape Vine

The band flat out turns it loose and jams the hell out of one of the greatest songs of all-time. Pure heat from start to finish.

9. Tombstone Shadow

Speaking off pure heat, this is one of the more underrated songs in the group's list of classics. It's just another bad-ass, hard-rocking CCR song that makes your body move.

8. Suzie Q

Part of me wonders if this song might be overrated at No. 8 and part of me thinks that the song might be underrated. I thought long and hard about this song in this spot and I came to the conclusion that I just couldn't omit this song from the list.

7. Born on the Bayou

John Fogerty might be stubborn as a mule, but man he could produce some magic. This is one of the group's true signature songs and it's a credit to the music they made that it resides at No. 7 on my list.

6. I Put a Spell On You

Fogerty slays the dragon with one of the great vocals of all-time. He just destroys this song with energy, passion and raw heat explodes from the group.

5. Fortunate Son

If this song were a bundle of TNT, it would weigh five tons. It doesn't get any more iconic than Fogerty losing his mind as he screams; "It ain't me!"

4. Midnight Special

I'm almost always going to have a song in the list somewhere that might make people do a double take, but the truth is that this song might be my favorite CCR son of them all and it's an old Lead Belly song. Flame away.

3. Have You Ever Seen The Rain

The last great CCR song ever recorded. If you were ever going to drop the mic with one last great song before the bang goes bye-bye, this is a hell of a farewell. It's as beautiful of a rock song as you'll ever hear.

2. Bad Moon Rising

This was the first CCR song I ever loved. There was just something about the imagery of the song that tickled my fancy as a child and things have never changed.

1. Proud Mary

It's not even open for debate as far as I'm concerned. If there is one song that John Fogerty wrote that the world could never do without, it's this one. THIS song IS CCR.

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